“I know it’s gonna be alright
When I turn out my lights.”
-Justin Townes Earle
This is a lyric that resonates strongly with me right now. Winter is coming, some days leave me lonely, but really, the solitude is something I can enjoy right now.
Sometimes my favorite, most tolerable part of the day is when I turn out my light, crawl into bed, and quiet my mind. I never enjoyed these sacred moments of silence before.
Tonight I called my sister, Meredith, and she was with her friend. Usually, when I call her at night, she is with a friend of hers. I’m put on speakerphone and allowed to laugh and feel that I’m there, at least somewhat. When the call ends I’m alone again. I listen to my (mostly very sad) music and drink a glass of wine and eventually close my eyes and drift off to sleep. Before, I rarely had nights like these. A year ago, I was in the midst of a chapter of life that was social. I never had a night in. I went to shows downtown. I lived downtown! My best friend lived two blocks away. My life became loud and fun and confusing and boisterous. “You NEVER KNOW what could happen in the next 24 hours!” was what Gina and I would say to each other, each night, sitting on her porch drinking whiskey. I knew that chapter would end. Here I am – in a very small town, and I like it just as much.
This is surprising.
I wrote a blog a while ago about how “ramble” is my favorite word. I would consider myself a rambler. The catch is this: I’m not a rambler in the sense that I’m traveling right now. I’m not doing anything very exciting. But my mind never stops (except in those moments when the lights go out) and I realize that I’m a rambler in the most lonesome sense. In my own mind and in my own beliefs of love and companionship. There have been glimpses of True Love, glimpses of What Could Be, but at the end of the day, nothing is promised. I recently talked to someone who was going through a heartbreak. He told me he was sad because he imagined kids with the woman who broke up with him. He imagined their life together. I said, “I’m probably not the one to talk to. I think maybe, you shouldn’t hope or imagine a family with someone until that woman is literally giving birth to said baby and you know for sure it is yours.”
I clap my hand over my mouth when those words come out! I do! But I also don’t regret saying it. Call me a realist; call me a pessimist. I would say that I’m still hopeful, but only for each moment as it comes. I’m quite content believing in the day that is here and the moments that present themselves. There isn’t much use in dreaming of something that just might not happen.
Another lyric that resonates with me at the utmost level as of late… written and sung by that same sister (Meredith):
“If I remain a lonesome woman, I won’t let anyone down
and I can fine tune that broken, hollow, lonesome sound”
-Wildewood, One Against Three
There are days when I repeat this over and over in my head until it becomes a mantra. I can be a lonesome woman. That truly is the only way to not let anyone down. I can focus when I’m at work. I can meet up with my friends at any time. I can live 100% authentically.
But this isn’t to say that anyone living with Their Person isn’t doing so authentically. Absolutely not. I believe in that sort of life, too. But again with the chapters. There are seasons of loneliness and seasons of companionship.
All I know at this very moment in time is that I’m probably not letting anyone down. My family seems proud of me; I’m making it on my own, after all! My friends here are great. I can see how they are meant to be in my life. I don’t owe anyone anything right now. All my debts are paid, all my problems are trivial. I could get used to it.
However: we are human, and solitude isn’t forever. I know I could also get used to letting someone down. It also means raising them up and supporting them and trusting them and challenging them to be better. I want someone to do that for me, too.
I shared this photo on instagram and Facebook. The magic here is that I literally did walk by this mirror, look at myself, and think, “Wow, is this how I look all the time?” I looked more serious than I picture myself to be. My eyes looked tired. I’m not withering away like I once was, but I’m definitely worn out. I’m in a cold, cold place and winter IS coming. I moved here on purpose. It was a challenge. And I’m pretty sure the Midwest only truly accepts a person after the first winter. I’ll be damned if I don’t succeed.
So here’s to the dark nights ahead… the lonely moments that are yet to come… and the friends who will help me through it all. Here’s to knowing that solitude, in this chapter, means freedom from answering to anyone. (except maybe my parents ;) )
Here’s to some good moments of finding ourselves,